Sometimes it’s good to try new things, to step outside of the box just a little bit, isn’t it? I read through several different versions of the Bible today, specifically one I rarely use, and I was so encouraged by what I found there! Today I want to share the truth about your identity in Christ, and how believing that truth produces confidence!
If I had to guess, I would say that whatever marital issue you’re facing has rocked your confidence. It probably rocked your self-confidence, your confidence in other people, and even your confidence in the Lord. We’ve lost a lot, and sometimes the loss is completely overwhelming.
There’s a story in the Bible of someone else who lost everything. Yep, our good buddy, Job. It’s likely that you’ve considered him at least once in this journey. Seems we all have our moments where we can say, “Yes, I can identify with his loss.”
I don’t want to look at his loss today, though. I want to jump to the end of the book and take a look at Job’s conversation with the Lord as we focus on the truth about your identity in Christ.
Straight Talk with God
One thing that helped me to get through some of the toughest times was to have honest conversations with the Lord.
God created our emotions, He created the way we feel and think and perceive the things that happen to us. So when things get tough, it makes perfect sense to go right to the Source – to our Creator – and discuss it with Him.
Sure, we can talk with friends, and gather advice from wise people in our lives. Job’s friends showed up in his life, and by the end of the book he was frustrated with them and the “wisdom” they offered. We have a lot of well-meaning people in our lives, but we always have to take what they say and compare it to what God’s Word says. It’s important to keep the communication open with Him, to discuss our feelings with Him, but also to wait patiently to hear from Him.
If you want to know the truth about your identity in Christ, it’s best to have a conversation with your Creator!
God’s Talk with Job
This morning I was reading something that prompted me to go back to Job 40. Most of the time, I read from the NIV or ESV. On occasion, I may look something up in a different translation, as I did this morning.
In Job 40, God is pretty straightforward with Job. No matter what version you use, Job 40:6-7 is pretty powerful.
6 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
6 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
7 “Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
6 Then the Lord spoke to Job again from the whirlwind:
7 “Stand up like a man and brace yourself for battle. Let me ask you a question, and give me the answer.
6-7 God addressed Job next from the eye of the storm, and this is what he said:
“I have some more questions for you,
and I want straight answers.
God Questions Job
Today I was struck with how The Message laid out this passage. This section, in The Message, is titled “I Want Straight Answers”.
Can you imagine God showing up, telling you that He wants straight answers? That strikes a little fear. If you’ve ever had someone say that phrase to you, they were probably also slightly angry, or at least quite frustrated.
The Lord goes on to question Job through the rest of Job 40 and 41. As you read through those chapters, you can almost hear the frustration in God’s tone as he questions Job.
Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong?
Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?
I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—
you can surely save yourself with no help from me!
Those two verses were just the beginning of God’s questioning Job. Wow! Talk about questions and comments that would rock your confidence in yourself or God!
Job Answers God
Sometimes we have to have these reckonings with God, don’t we? We can get swallowed up in all that is going on in our lives. Each of us has experienced a tremendous loss. Perhaps our loss hasn’t been as great as Job’s, but it sure feels like it. The weight practically crushes us and drags us under.
But that’s not what God wants. He doesn’t want us to lose heart and let go and allow the current of life to take us where they will.
Look at how Job responded to God’s questioning. Again, while I don’t normally use The Message, this interpretation seemed so beautiful and poignant to me. Job 42:1-6 says,
Job answered God:
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.
You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.
Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”
The Truth about Your Identity in Christ
The truth is, Job’s knowledge of God changed from a head knowledge to a heart knowledge.
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you…
Job 42:5 (ESV)
Our entire perception of God changes when we let Him carry us through these trials in our lives. We may feel like we’re having a crisis of faith because everything we had thought about God is challenged based on this situation we’re in.
I wonder, though, if like Job, perhaps our head knowledge of God, and who He is, may actually be transferring to a heart knowledge.
God drives home the truth about your identity in Christ, even in the most difficult times.
Many of us who walk out the other side of this marital turmoil will tell you that it is God who carried us, who sustained us, who comforted us. Many profess that they knew God before their marital struggles, but now they have a deeper, more personal relationship with Him.
Learn the Truth about Your Identity in Christ
How can you learn the truth about your identity in Christ? Well, of course you can spend time with Him, in His Word, in prayer.
You can also find valuable insight from others who have gone through similar situations. For example, those of you with marital struggles sign up to follow this blog and get emails designed to provide hope and encouragement delivered to your Inbox.
So resources from others in similar situations can be very valuable.
Philippians 1:6 reminds us of this truth:
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I love that verse, and I love the fact that Philippians 1:6 is the foundation for a new devotional that you can use to build our confidence in God, and remember the truth of your identity in Christ.
The author of this devotional is Jen Stults, who was my co-author for Hope for the Hurting Wife. You have read her words here on my blog, and many of you follow her blog as well. Her message on our identity in Christ resonates with so many of us!
Being Confident of This
She shares this:
Confident Christian living IS possible! Through this 30-day devotional, you’ll discover the freedom in:
•Overcoming the superwoman myth
•Having courage to face a giant
•Avoiding the danger of greener grass
•Embracing a work-in-progress mindset
Choose today to ignite the confidence befitting a cherished daughter of the King!
Wow! We are “cherished daughters of the King!” Do you believe it? If you struggle with that truth, I would encourage you to grab ahold of this devotional and lean in to the truths of God’s Word through the stories that Jen shares.
Friends, it is possible to have confidence in the darkest of times. Notice that I’m not saying that it’s easy. But it is possible.
The way to do that, though, is to trust the very truth of God – of who He is, and who you are in Him.
I encourage – and challenge! – you to take time to go through this devotional and let God speak to you. Let your Creator remind you of the truth of your identity in Christ!